CQ Instrumental, Volume 1

"Mother of Bravery"

By Derrick Spiva Jr.

Premiered January 29, 2021

“Mother of Bravery” is sponsored by June and Simon Li.


Mother of Bravery is a piece that explores the emotional transformations that are possible with the sensation of fear. Inspired by the 4,096 ancestors that each person is directly descended from in 12 generations,  the work explores how we have depended on the knowledge and survival of each of these ancestors in order to stay alive today. Our awareness of our ancestors can encourage us to have the will and strength to move forward.

The piece begins with unaccompanied spoken text. As the instruments enter, they serve not only as musical representation of the text, but also act as an entity representing a collective group of ancestors, of whom the actor can converse with. These moments of call and response heard between the speaking voice and the musicians draw from call and response traditions found in many musical cultures and spoken word traditions.

Mother of Bravery also includes rhythmic elements from Ghanaian drumming as well as melodic elements found in West and North Africa, Bulgarian folk music, and blues, gospel, and bluegrass music of the United States. The harmonic and rhythmic progressions of Bach chorales and the work of Giacinto Scelsi (who is best known for writing music based around one pitch, altered through microtonal oscillations, harmonic allusion, and changes in timbre and dynamics) are also influences in the piece.

-Derrick Spiva Jr.

About CQ: Instrumental

Musician-focused companion videos from inside the world of Close Quarters, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s new premium streaming series.

WATCH CQ: Instrumental NOW


LACO’s new premium streaming series – which premieres November 6 – presents a new avenue for classical music and a unique look at what the future can hold in balancing music, art and movement.

Close Quarters features classical music performances set to images and art created and processed in a first-of-its-kind digital studio at Wilhardt + Naud. Music Director Jaime Martín and Director and Designer James Darrah seek to create a digital series that celebrates collaboration in an age of isolation.

Close Quarters is a Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra original series and you can find it for free on Youtube, Facebook and our website.